Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rate My Look- Elongating Effects

Today I have two outfits to share with you that will demonstrate a couple of slimming/elongating effects our clothes can have on us. I've often talked about nude shoes or monochromatic tights and shoes combinations as ways of elongating the leg line. Another great method is to wear a dress or top with an empire waistline. If you ever watch the TLC show "What Not to Wear" Stacey and Clinton repeatedly offer this advice to basically everyone on their show. And they are right. I tend to wear heels with dresses for the obvious reason that they make my legs more shapely and of course add an extra 3-4 inches to their length. However, there are days when heels are just not practical. For example, yesterday at work AMT hosted Foreigner on our stage. It was pretty exciting, but the day was looooooong. I knew when I got dressed in the morning that I would be on my feet most of the day doing a lot of running around. Not exactly a jeans & sneakers kind of girl, I opted for the next best thing: a jersey dress with flat boots and tights:
I know what you're thinking: you've seen me in this dress before and you're right. But I normally wear it with high-heeled boots or my favorite black wedge heels. Often wearing flats just makes my legs stumpy, but because this dress has a clear empire waistline, I not only pull off the look in flats, but my legs look just about as long as when I wear heels. Everyone consciously knows that legs don't start right under the bustline, but this illusion isn't necessarily meant to be conscious. All it's meant to do is to emphasize the smallest part of me- my waistline- and then draw the eye in a vertical direction from that point.

If you're curious, here are some other aspects of this outfit that help my cause:
1.) Cap sleeves: Cap sleeves broaden the shoulder line which in turn emphasizes a narrower waist that much further. In addition, since my hips are naturally wider than my waist (as are most women's), the cap sleeves help create a more dramatic hour-glass shape since it extends beyond the bustline up to the shoulder line.
2.) Monochromatic boots and tights combination: I've talked about this before and I'm sure I'll mention it again, but if I'd worn light grey, cream or any other color tights, even nude, then my legs would have been chopped up into horizontal sections. By wearing all black, the line is extended.

Next, here's my outfit for today:

Can you guess what I'm going to say about this? This time, it's the shape of the jacket doing the work. It has vertical seaming that shapes it close to my body. In addition, the closure is directly below my bustline once again emphasizing the smallest part of me. The shoulder seams of the jacket fall almost exactly at the edge of my natural shoulder line for a very fitted effect that avoids the whole line-backer look that sometimes happens in jackets and blazers. Do you see the hourglass shape again?
And note how the narrowest part of the hourglass does not divide my body in half, but rather makes the top half actually appear shorter than the bottom half. The eye sees this image, and sends the message to the brain that the bottom half of me is much longer than the top half. It's all subconscious, but totally effective nonetheless.

Other outfit details that help my cause:
1.) Boot cut, dark denim- dark denim washes minimize wide thighs and trust me when I tell you that my thighs are exactly that- wide. Light wash denim, particularly distressed light wash, has the opposite effect- it draws the eye to the thighs, particularly if they are fitted. The boot cut of these jeans is also flattering because they balance the lower half of my legs with the top half. Wide leg jeans and trousers have the same effect.
2.) Dark shoes- If I had added a pop of color at my feet, it might have been fun, but it would have minimized the lengthening effect that happens with dark on dark- not exactly monochromatic as the jeans are blue and the shoes are black, but still effective.
3.) V-neckline and necklace- V-necks are always good for elongating shape- I talked about that a couple of days ago here- and they also help emphasize an hourglass shape. The jacket neckline coupled with my long beaded necklace is even more effective simply because the necklace mirrors the shape of the jacket neckline. The effect is essentially doubled, but without added bulk. Also, do you notice how the charms at the end of the necklace are basically drawing attention to the narrowest part of me- the center of the hourglass shape? I may as well have an arrow pointing there!

***A note on the styling of outfit #2- sometimes 3/4 sleeves on blazers and jackets help to "lighten up" an outfit. Long sleeves on petite bodies can actually be somewhat overpowering. Roll your sleeves up like I have to show some more skin and you'll avoid this common style mistake.***

I hope this post has been informative and helpful. Feel free to leave a comment to tell me what you think or to ask a question about how to dress your body type in the most flattering way. Have a fabulous day!


Beth said...

Your second outfit is so chic and effortless looking, I'm speechless. I literally want to buy those pieces and copy that outfit.

Renée T. Bouchard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renée T. Bouchard said...

Well, Beth, that won't be too hard, or expensive for that matter. Here's the breakdown:

Jacket: NY and Co
Cowl neck top: Fair Indigo
Jeans: Old Navy
Necklace: Forever 21
Jeweled cuff: Target
Wedgest: Burlington Coat Factory

Thanks for reading!

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